Monthly Archives: January 2011

19Jan/11

Be Open and your Prayer will be Answered.

So let me tell you a little story. This happened to me last week.

After staying for a couple of days at my Grandparent’s house – without my family – I was starting the 3 hour journey home. My Grandpa had a plumbing bill to pay which I decided to hand deliver on my way home. In the 3 minutes from my Grandparents house to where the plumber lived I became concerned by a funny noise coming from underneath the car. It sounded like something had come unscrewed and was bouncing around on it’s one remaining fixture, and would soon result in a fatal crash on the M40. I didn’t particularly want to call the AA and hang around for ages, but who else could I get to check the engine. It’s one of those situations when you think, its probably all fine, but what if it isn’t and I’m choosing to risk a motherless future for my children.

I parked in a quiet residential road where the plumber lived and being brave and open (see previous post), rang on the doorbell (no cowardly putting through the letterbox for me this year) and had a simple, pleasant conversation with said plumber. All good, and smugly proud of my new experiance and connection, I returned to the car. After having a very speedy look under the car to see if anything was hanging off – it wasn’t – I rang my husband. I know, not heroic, but hey, he thinks on his feet better than me. So he said why don’t you have a look under the bonnet and check nothing is falling off. Now, obviously this thought had occured to me too, but I hadn’t done it because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. People might look out of their windows and see me. And, horror of horrors, they might even open their doors, walk out and try to talk to me. They might even ask if they can help. Which would be a disaster.

But I know rationally that opening the bonnet is the only way to go. With my phone in my hand, relaying what I’m doing to my husband, I check and wobble things as if I know what I’m doing and conclude that nothing looks too dangerous.

And then it happens. A door opens. Oh my God. A man walks out, he is 10 metres away from me. My whole body is urging me to turn my head, ignore him (I am on the phone after all) get in my car and pretend that I haven’t seen him. (I know, pathetic, and actually quite wierd). But in an instant I remember my New Year’s Resolution to be open to new situations and connections. So I turn and face him, open to his approach, and it feels like my power steering has been turned off, its such an effort. And then he says,

‘Hi, is everything ok? Can I help? I’m a mechanic’

And I smile and say thank you and everything is ok again.

15Jan/11

Creating Conscious Connections

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more open and endeavour to create conscious connections each day.

So what exactly does that mean?

I love people, and when I am in a situation where I meet new people I usually manage OK and enjoy it. Sometimes I’m more confident than others, but generally I would consider myself a friendly, open person who gets on with people relatively well. I’m not everyone’s best friend immediately, and I’m not naturally chatty all the time and in all situations but I’ve never considered it a problem before.  But recently I’ve begun to think about a side of me that I’ve known about but ignored for a long time because it doesn’t fit in with my ‘I’m a people person’ belief.

I’ve had to admit that in some situations I actively resist talking to people I don’t know. I pretend I haven’t seen something or someone, I’m scared to draw attention to something that I know needs attention or solving.  I don’t get involved with things that are happening right in my life.  And I’ve realised that the reason why is because I don’t know what will happen?  I can’t control the event, I don’t know how someone will react, or I don’t know the possible outcomes of the situation.

I also have an almost pathological urge to avoid embarrassment and social discomfort – my own of course, but mainly other people’s.  I worry about how other people are feeling in a situation, and often act as peacemaker and facilitator  to protect people and to smooth the creases of social interactions. And this is all the more acute if it involves people I don’t know that well.

As a result of all this I shy away from some social situations, especially improptu ones in situations I am not used to, or could cause conflict. (Funnily enough, I can do conflict in some situations. I am happy to ask for music to be turned down in bars, or to complain about things if I feel I am in the right.)  In 2011 I want to be open to every situation. I want to go into them without judgement and worry about who, what, why, when, and just experience the connection, conversation, encounter as it is, without trying to direct it.

My aim is to be consciously open to new experiences and new connections, and to build and strengthen already existing connections to my friends, community, and family.